Reports that general and regional elections will be held sometime in mid-December of this year have been debunked by President David Granger. During a media engagement earlier today at the Ministry of the Presidency, the president was quizzed on the validity of the reports, to which he responded, “the news couldn’t have come from me.”
The Head of State’s comment is a reminder that he has the constitutional responsibility to make such a pronouncement – which he has not done.
The Head of State was at the time briefing the media on an engagement he had with Chairperson Justice Claudette Singh, and Commissioners of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) this morning.
“I shall wait on the advice of the Commission,” the President said when asked about the media reports of an election date in December.
The house-to-house registration is marred in controversy following the Caribbean Court of Justice’s (CCJ) validation of the December 21, 2018 no-confidence motion, which has now reduced the David Granger-led regime into a “caretaker” government.
The controversy was further exacerbated after a notice signed by former Chairman Justice (Retired) James Patterson was published informing the nation that the process of house-to-house will commence from July 20, 2019. The notice was placed days before the CCJ ruled that Patterson’s appointment was unconstitutional and therefore flawed.
There are factions within society who believe that the CCJ’s ruling on the appointment of Patterson has overtaken the operationalisation order. There are also some who believe that the order is unaffected by the ruling since it was gazetted when Patterson’s position was deemed as bona fide.
The coalition government, in the meanwhile, has given its support to the process, claiming that it contains the required methodological components to accurately capture electorate data for a new voters’ list following the expiration of the last one in April of this year.
The PPP/C, on the other hand, is contending that the house-to-house process will surpass the constitutional deadline imposed by Article 106 (6) and (7), which provides guidance on the way forward after a government has fallen to a no-confidence motion. Elections, it says, must be held within three months.
The Head-of-State reiterated today that it is for GECOM to advise him when it is ready for general and regional elections and that the meeting with the Commission this morning was to assure the elections body that the government will respect its independence.
Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George-Wiltshire is set to hand down her ruling on August 14. The GECOM Chairperson, according to the president, has committed to communicate GECOM’s position on the way forward after the CJ’s ruling and the after meeting with the Commission on August 15.